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How to Be Taken Seriously at Work At All Levels (14 Tips)

Engage in these habits to earn the respect of your colleagues. Keep reading to learn 14 tips to be taken more seriously at work.

By Brier Cook  •   May 10, 2022  •   7 min read

Remember the morning of your first job ever? You likely walked through the office door with sweaty hands and a stomach full of butterflies. You probably thought to yourself, “I hope my coworkers like me!” and may have even practiced introducing yourself in front of your bathroom mirror before you left the house (no judgment). You wanted your manager and colleagues to see you as a capable and enthusiastic team player by making the best first impression. 

Now let’s fast forward to today. Whether you’re at that same company or you’ve had dozens of roles since that nerve-wracking first day, some of your behaviours have probably changed. As we grow more comfortable in our careers, we forget the small things that made us shine back when we were desperate to be taken seriously by our peers. However, we need to remind ourselves to engage in habits that will continue to earn us the respect we deserve.

Let’s take a look at habits you can build if you want to be taken seriously at work. 

14 tips to be taken seriously at work

1Arrive early

We’re not saying that you should show up to a company function 30 minutes before it starts, but give yourself a few spare minutes to get in and settled so you aren’t flustered. Even if your organization doesn’t have set in-office hours or strict policies around punctuality, your team will notice if you’re often late. Strive to show up for your workday, meetings, and team activities a few minutes early and to complete tasks before the assigned deadlines. 

Earn workplace respect

Come prepared to meetings with a collaborative meeting agenda to earn the workplace respect you deserve and be taken seriously. Try a tool like Fellow today!

2Act confident

Confidence comes naturally to some and not-so-naturally to others. The ability to exude confidence will be one of your greatest strengths during your career because it will show others that you take yourself seriously. In your daily life, you can practice confidence by remaining level-headed during times of stress and by acting assertive during conversations with your peers. When others view you as a confident teammate, they’ll take you seriously too. 

3Stay silent unless your input is valuable

We know how badly you want to tell that foolish, semi-inappropriate story during your team lunch… we all do sometimes. Save the story of the time your last boss heard you call them a foul name for your next family dinner. Before you speak, make sure what you’re planning to say adds real value to the conversation. This habit is important in both casual and formal settings with your coworkers. Sometimes the most thoughtful individuals are the ones who stay quiet and only speak up when they have something truly remarkable to add. 

4Pay attention to your body language

Pay attention to the way you hold yourself while interacting with peers. Use open body language, including uncrossed arms and legs during casual conversations. Have good posture in meetings and make eye contact when speaking with a teammate. Express emotions naturally and avoid fidgeting in group settings. Practice your handshake often to ensure it’s firm and inviting. 

5Take time to fully prepare 

The most poised employees are prepared. That superstar presenter on your team may have a casual demeanor, but they likely spent hours perfecting the execution of their latest lecture. Always prepare more than you think you think you’ll need. Come up with a plan B in case your initial idea falls flat, do more research than necessary, and run through your presentation a few extra times once it’s perfected. You can also use a Fellow meeting agenda to make sure you can begin every meeting organized and with an outlined plan of action. 

6Stay informed on current events 

It’s okay if current events aren’t your thing! You don’t need to read the entire New York Times homepage each day, but skimming major local, national, and international news sites regularly will keep you informed and give you something to casually chat about with your teammates. This habit will also help you make better strategic business decisions when your work is impacted by local and global events. Develop a reputation for being well read and your teammates will also view you as intelligent and curious. 

7Stay humble

You can be good at your job, make a lot of money, and feel more prepared than your teammates, but no one will be willing to tolerate an arrogant attitude. As you develop a better reputation at work, humility will be key. Don’t obnoxiously brag about your accomplishments. You can be assertive during important conversations while minding your own business and staying quiet when your input isn’t valuable. 

8Be respectful

You should have the same respect for your teammates that they have for you. Whether you’re speaking with a manager or a student employee, you should treat every individual with common courtesy. Be considerate during your interactions, respect your teammates’ time when delegating tasks, and show your appreciation when they help you with a project. Strive to have a reputation as a kind individual as much as you strive to have one as a hardworking team-player. 

9Have a growth mindset

When you stop learning, you stop growing. Even CEOs and senior management at top companies regularly learn new tools to help them succeed. A growth mindset is one that believes abilities can improve with continued resilience, effort, and learning. By knowing that your skill set can be developed with hardwork and dedication, you’ll be motivated to try new things and put in the extra effort. 

10Communicate effectively

Strive to be an excellent communicator, both in writing and verbally. Be clear and concise in your email communication and take a moment to gather your thoughts cohesively before speaking up in a group setting. Effective communication also means listening actively. Listen to your teammates and open your mind to understanding their viewpoints on work-related matters. 

11Dress for success

Demonstrate your respect for the workplace through your appearance. How you present yourself matters in professional roles. You don’t need to have an expensive wardrobe, but you should follow your company’s dress code. This habit extends to virtual meetings, too. You don’t want your colleagues to be distracted by your messy appearance when they’re trying to make important decisions. You don’t need to look as formal as you would in person, but make sure no one will be able to see the sweatpants you’re wearing below the Zoom camera view. 

12Offer to help

You’ll earn the respect of your teammates if you’re competent and warm. If you’re proficient in a task or with a tool that a colleague is learning, offer your assistance. If there’s a new face in the office, introduce yourself and let them know that they can reach out if they’re ever in need of support. Being helpful will also help you build sincere relationships with your colleagues. 

13Show gratitude

Get in the habit of following up meaningful workplace conversations with a thank you email or handwritten note. When you express your gratitude to others for contributing to your success, you create a cycle of workplace engagment. Pass along your good energy and watch your office become a happier, more enthusiastic environment for all. Your teammates will respect you for contributing to a vibrant workplace culture! 

14Find a mentor

Having a great mentor will help you carve your own career path by providing you with advice as you advance within your organization. Look for an individual who is senior to you and has qualities you admire in an employee and person. This person should be able to guide you in making important decisions, offer encouragement, share life experiences, and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. As you ascend in the workplace, you too can give back by becoming a mentor and bestowing your knowledge on a less experienced employee while helping them achieve their goals.

Use this free mentor meeting agenda template:

Better habits for greater respect

Think about that first day of work again. The truth is, it’s doubtful that your new team viewed you as anything other than neutral during the initial interaction. It was your can-do attitude and keenness to learn that helped build healthy relationships and ultimately earned the respect of your peers. As you continued in your workplace, you probably had a few slip ups. You may have shown up late to a few meetings or missed an important deadline, but don’t stress too much about the past. The habits you exhibit moving forward will move you toward the level of respect you desire. Know that with a bit of regular work, some patience, and consistency, you too will make an impression on people and will be taken seriously at work.

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